Hamish the polar bear arrived at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in 2018 where he was celebrated as the first cub to be born in the UK for 25 years.
A huge hit with visitors, two and a half-year-old Hamish is now ready to leave mum Victoria for a new life at Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Project Polar reserves. The move follows a recommendation from the European Endangered Species Programme with the young male due to head south at the end of October.
Rachel Williams, senior animal keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said, “In the wild, polar bear cubs will stay with their mothers for two to three years, so this is a natural time for Hamish to be moving on and I’m sure Victoria will appreciate some peace and quiet.
“It has been an incredible two and a half years watching him grow and he will be missed by everyone here at the park. There’s still time for visitors to come and say goodbye before Hamish leaves at the end of October, he is still a very playful bear.”
David Field, RZSS chief executive, said, “A critical part of our role as a wildlife conservation charity is education. Hamish has made a tremendous impression on the thousands of people who visited the park since his birth two and a half years ago, and the billions who saw the news around the world.
“He has helped to highlight the threats many species face in the wild and the changes we can undertake to really make a difference. Changes in the Arctic climate mean the sea ice that wild polar bears, and other animals, depend on for survival is shrinking and it is predicted this will significantly decrease population numbers over the next 40 years.
“Hamish has been and continues to be an incredible ambassador for his relatives in the wild.”
Hamish will join other male bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s expansive Project Polar reserves to enjoy social interaction, play, exploration, and behavioural development vital to bear well-being.
For information on visiting Highland Wildlife Park and to book tickets go to highlandwildlifepark.org.uk/reopening